3 Ways to Tap into a Pipeline Job

by Beverly Harvey

Now that you have the skinny on the unpublicized job market, let’s look at how you can break into it. When job-seekers search for new jobs, one of the most important elements of a successful search is developing job leads. How can you find a consistent source for open jobs in your career field? The answer, of course, is that you cannot. No one consistent source exists. There are, however, several methods that all job-seekers should consider using in uncovering the largest number of job leads.

While other ways of unearthing unadvertised jobs exist, the key to mining the unpublicized job market is deploying strategies that break you, the candidate, into the middle of the hiring process – before positions are publicly known. Even better for you as a job-seeker, if you can make a strong case for your fit with an unadvertised position, you’ll face much less competition from other job- seekers, immediately improving the chances that you’ll get a job interview.


The No. 1 reason networking is so important and effective is that, as we’ve seen, so many jobs are not made public – through advertising or other means. One of the best ways a job-seeker can find out about these jobs is through word-of-mouth. Networking is a highly effective way for job-seekers to hear word-of-mouth news of unadvertised vacancies. These vacancies may eventually be publicized, but most jobs start out hidden, and only the decision-maker knows.

More job leads are developed/discovered through networking than any other method. Networking involves using the vast numbers of people that you know – your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, vendors, associates, and others – as information sources for job leads.

Networking is simply about building and maintaining relationships with the people around us. The more people we know – and the more people the folks we know are connected with – the more powerful our network. Remember to not only maintain your current network, but strive to regularly add new contacts – especially those who work for prospective future employers.

When you’re ready to seek that next job, the simple way of uncovering unpublicized job opportunities and leads is by asking people in your network what advice they might offer for someone seeking the type of job you’re looking for. Keys to success include knowing exactly the type of job you seek and asking your network contacts not for a job, but rather for information, advice, and referrals that may lead to a job. These conversations may reveal information about pipeline jobs.

Pipeline Jobs

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, a pipeline job is a vacancy that an employer is in the process of creating but is not yet official. Once the job is official, the hiring manager may ask around within the organization for referrals of qualified candidates before making the vacancy public.

As we noted in the Part 1, many hiring managers prefer getting internal referrals because once they publicize the job, they know they will be bombarded with resumes, many from unqualified candidates. They will then have to process those resumes. Referrals from known and trusted employees are always preferable.

Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

Many employers have highly developed employee-referral programs and reward workers for suggesting a hire. Social media has fast-tracked the employee-referral process and vastly increased its reach.

3 Ways to Disrupt the Pipeline

    1. Referral Cover Letter: Once you have a network contact who has told you about a pipeline job, one effective way to approach the hiring manager is with a referral cover letter. The referral cover letter is an extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the reader’s attention and prompt an interview. The opening sentence for a sample referral follows:Dear Mr. Fouche,Nancy Jones of Green & Associates Advertising suggested I contact you regarding possible public-relations opportunities in your firm.
    2. Informational interview: This technique can be effective even if the job for you hasn’t even entered the pipeline. Research the needs of targeted employers. Especially conduct research into recent news stories about the organization (Is the company expanding to new markets? Introducing a new product? It will likely need to hire). Another way is by networking with organization insiders and asking them about company needs and challenges. But the best way is through informational interviewing, a sub-set of networking in which you conduct brief interviews with people inside targeted organizations and ask what keeps them up at night.Informational interviewing is exactly what it sounds like – interviewing designed to yield the information you need to choose a career path, learn how to break in, and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s a highly focused conversation with someone in your career field who can provide you with key information, such as the issues and needs a given employer is facing. While an informational interview is not a job interview, the information gleaned can be used later in your approach to an employer. Armed with knowledge about problems and needs within an organization, you can propose ways that you can meet those needs and solve those problems.
    3. Creating Your Own Job based on Employer Needs: This technique may enable you to get a pipeline job before it even enters the pipeline is trying to create a job for yourself – where one currently doesn’t exist – based on a deeper exploration of the employer’s needs or problems. With this technique, the job-seeker identifies the employer’s needs and/or problems and proposes that the employer create a job that the job-seeker will then fill and meet the needs or solve the problems.

Finally, realize that sometimes a referral doesn’t pay off immediately or directly but lays the groundwork for a future opportunity. Keep following up on pipeline jobs.

If you need help tapping into those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule


*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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